VR Training for Ophthalmology Students

VR app trains ophthalmology students in pupillary examinations remotely, flexibly

Training/ Education

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Dr. Michael Williams, a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Queens University Belfast, is keen on utilizing technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), in healthcare education, emphasizing the importance of identifying abnormalities in pupillary reactions. To address the lack of practical training opportunities, especially exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, a solution was sought to provide effective remote digital training for ophthalmology students in performing pupillary examinations.

The solution involved developing a VR software application for the Oculus Quest VR headset, offering an immersive 3D digital training experience. The Oculus Quest was chosen for its affordability, performance, and portability, featuring high-resolution displays and wireless operation. With its support for "6 degrees of freedom," users can physically move within the virtual space, enhancing realism.

The project focused on creating 3D models and photographic images of clinical environments and objects, including furniture, a patient, pen torch, and target objects for examination tests. The application allows preselection of specific eye abnormalities, control of lighting levels, manipulation of the virtual pen torch and target objects, and triggering animations in response to examination actions.

Students engage in pupillary examinations and diagnose abnormalities through a multiple-choice question and answer session. This immersive training approach offers flexibility, enabling students to practice anytime, anywhere, and as frequently as needed, enhancing confidence in observing pupillary reactions.

The remote delivery aligns with post-Covid needs, providing memorable learning experiences with improved retention rates. The success of the project opens avenues for extending the application to other ophthalmologic conditions and clinical areas, promising further advancements in healthcare education through technology.

Rrahul Sethi
June 4, 2024
5 min read